Singapore’s Contact Tracing Wearable Causes Privacy Backlash

Singapore is ahead of most Western nations in terms of experience with track & trace. We should watch and learn from their plan to abandon apps and move to function-specific devices. It has shades of house arrest, but positioning it as a ‘Fitbit for Covid-19’ might just make it acceptable…:

[…] Wilson Low, who started the petition, in a Sunday post voiced concerns about the wearables potentially allowing contact tracers to locate users’ whereabouts based on their proximity to others’ phones, cell towers or potentially other wearable devices themselves.

“We reject what could potentially be a new form of apartheid (those who wear devices being unable to interact, commune or live with those who reject the devices),” said Low. “Thus, we continue to send a strident and unwavering voice to any actor or authority that the preservation of our rights and freedoms will not be predicated upon the adoption of any wearable tracking device by the general population of Singapore.”

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Contact-tracing apps have set off a slew of controversies over privacy concerns, even as contact tracing has emerged as a top idea for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and is considered by many to be an important step towards reopening economies worldwide. As the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. test-drives its own contact-tracing app on the Isle of Wight, leaked documents showed that road-map features for the app include the ability for people to upload their health “status” on a self-reporting basis. Apple and Google’s April announcement that they would team up to launch contact-tracing technology, via apps for iOS and Android users, also drew privacy concerns. Others, such as the state of Utah, have eschewed the API model proposed by Apple and Google, and instead have settled on their own contact-tracing mobile apps to collect detailed user location information to track the spread of COVID-19 among citizens.

And, in a Threatpost reader poll, almost three in four respondents said they were not okaywith sacrificing a portion of their personal privacy in exchange for some form of cellphone tracking that could – in theory – reduce coronavirus infection rates and save lives.

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Original article here